Alexis Smith
Date of Birth
Jun 08, 1921
Birth Place:
Penticton, BC, Canada

Biography

Born in Canada, Alexis Smith was brought to Los Angeles in her infancy by her family. At ten, Smith won a dance school scholarship, and at 13 she made her professional dancing debut in a Hollywood Bowl production of Carmen. While attending Hollywood High School, Smith won a statewide acting contest and at Los Angeles City College she enrolled in a rigorous theatrical training program. She was signed by Warner Bros. in 1941, where she was immediately (and reluctantly) tagged by the publicity department as "The Dynamite Girl." After a few B's, Smith received leading roles opposite Errol Flynn (Gentleman Jim), Charles Boyer and Joan Fontaine (The Constant Nymph), Fredric March (The Adventures of Mark Twain), Cary Grant (Night and Day), and even Jack Benny (the estimable The Horn Blows at Midnight). At 5' 9," Smith proved difficult to cast at times, especially opposite certain sensitive leading men of comparatively short stature. In 1944, Smith married fellow Warner contractee Craig Stevens, with their mutual friend Errol Flynn acting as best man. After closing out the first phase of her Hollywood career in 1959, Smith appeared on-stage with her husband in such touring productions as Mary, Mary, Critic's Choice, and Cactus Flower. In the early '70s, Alexis Smith scored a personal triumph (and won a Tony award) in the hit Broadway musical Follies; this led to a brief flurry of activity as a movie character actress, though she seemed far too youthful to be playing the middle-aged aunt of Jodie Foster in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane or the widowed retirement-home resident in the Burt Lancaster/Kirk Douglas vehicle Tough Guys (1986). Alexis Smith died of cancer one day after her 72nd birthday; her last screen appearance was as a bejeweled New York aristocrat in Martin Scorcese's The Age of Innocence (1993). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Provided by Rovi